or Drubeta (Drobeta-Turnu Severin) Romania.
A large Dacian city that became Roman.
It is mentioned by ancient sources (Ptol., Tab. Peut.,
.) as an important center on the left banks of the
Danube, near the Iron Gate.
The Dacian city was conquered in 101-2 by the Romans, who settled their veterans there. Apollodorus of
Damascus built a bridge across the Danube in 103-5.
(Procop. De aed.
; Dio Cass.). It is an imposing stone
structure 1135 m long resting on 20 piles connecting
Drobeta to Pontes (on the right bank of the river). The
arches and the floor of the bridge were of wood. Some
ruins (masonry of gates and piles) are still visible.
Trajan had most of his troops cross this bridge during
his expedition against Decebalus in A.D. 105. This bridge
is represented twice on Trajan's Column: at the time of
its dedication and during the passing of the troops on
the N bank of the Danube. At its N end Apollodorus
built a quadrilateral stone camp (123 x 137.5 m). It too
is visible in the scene of the dedication of the bridge on
Trajan's Column. Four gates, each at a wing of the citadel, gave access to it. Towers guarded the corners and
inside there was an imposing praetorium, two horrea, and
houses for the officers and soldiers. Many legions passed
through it (V Macedonica, VII Claudia, IV Flavia, XIII
Gemina, Cohors I Antiochiensium, etc.), but in permanent garrison there were Cohors III Campestris (2d c.),
and Cohors I sagittariorum milliaria (3d c.). The latter
built a large bath building on the banks of the Danube
for public and military use. In the 3d c., the soldier-brickmaker Aurelius Mercurius with a labor force of 60
soldiers, repaired it.
The ruins of the ancient city (ca. 2 sq. km) are now
completely covered by the modern city. Its necropoleis
were located at the places now known as Parcul Rozelor
and Bariera Craiovei. During the first half of the 3d c., the
city was surrounded by a moat, a vallum, and a wall, the
remains of which were still visible during the last century. At the founding of Dacia inferior (118-19), Hadrian granted Drobeta the rank of municipium and ca.
198-208 Septimius Severus raised it to the rank of
colonia. The inscriptions show that inhabitants of the
city included Dacians, Romans, Thracians, Celts, and
Orientals. It attracted veterans, who generally came from
the Danube Valley garrisons and were landowners or
communal magistrates. Many merchants also came, attracted by the traffic facilitated by the bridge, the port
of Drobeta, and the Roman road that led along the left
bank of the river. A large agricultural-grazing area surrounded the city, extending as far as the Cerna and Jiu
rivers. For construction, Drobeta used stone from the
quarries of the Iron Gate area and Brezniţa. Terra sigillata vases as well as various metal objects attest to its
trade relations with all the provinces of the Empire, from
Gaul to Phoenicia and Egypt. In the city there was also
a collegium fabrum. An inscription of the time of Septimius Severus mentions a tabularium of a fiscal customs
office directed by two servi villici. Among the most popular gods of Drobeta were Cybele (a temple), Iupiter
Zbelsurdos, Mithra, and Venus. Even after the abandonment of Dacia, Drobeta remained under Roman domination since it was an important bridgehead on the N bank
of the Danube.
In the 4th c., the camp was reconstructed (Diocletian?
Constantine the Great?), fortified, and provided with
well-defended gates and towers. But the attack of Attila
against the Empire of the East was to destroy it. The
disaster was so great that even the ancient Geto-Dacian
name was lost and when Justinian constructed a defense
tower on the ruins of ancient Drobeta, he called it
The objects found during excavations are in the Iron
Gate Museum at Turnu Severin and in the National Museum at Bucharest.
III, 1582-87; 6279; 8006-21; 8032;
8062-76; 14216, 1-16, 28; 14484; AnÉpigr
(1914) 117, 118; (1939) 19, 369; (1944) 100; (1959) 309-17.
L. F. de Marsigli, Description du Danube
passim; V. Pârvan, “Ştiri nouă din Dacia Malvensis” ACRMI
36 (1931) 1-10; A. Bărcăcilă, Drubeta: une ville
(1938); G. Florescu, “Castrul roman
Drobeta,” Revista Istorică Română
3 (1933) 54-77; D.
(1965); id., Oltenia romană
(3d ed., 1968) passim; id., Oraşe
(1968) 289-303; id., Podurile romane de la Dunărea de Jos
For Apollodorus, see W. L. MacDonald, The Architecture of the Roman Empire
I (1965) 129-37.